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How to become a judge

British Dressage operates a comprehensive training and assessment scheme which enables judges to progress up the levels, or ‘lists’ from preliminary to the heady heights of judging grand prix tests at championships.

Many trainers and riders use the knowledge they have built up to progress into a judging career. It has been said that becoming a judge helps with test riding and coaching skills as well as the general understanding of the way of going of the horse. British Dressage currently has just over 1,300 judges, this includes approximately 600 trainees.

Please note that the testing system policy has been updated (July 2017). To find out more about the new testing system and to view the updated policy please  click here 

For more information or to talk to someone about your specific requirements please contact the Training and Education Department (tel: 02476 698831)  

How to become a Trainee Judge

There is no criteria to meet in order to become a Trainee Judge but you must be a Full or Non-Competing member. If you would like to be visible on the 'Find a Judge' page on this website you will need to have attended an Induction day before January 2018. Induction days are organised in each region and will cost £15 to attend. There after we ask that you attend a seminar for your level every year. There is a registration fee of £10, your registration will then be valid for two years.  If you have not become a listed judge by the end of the two years, you will need to make a new application and attend another Induction day. To apply to become a Trainee Judge online using bookwhen please click here  


To book onto Judge Testing

  Please note that the new exam policy is now in place, and so any judges wishing to upgrade must have been at their current list for a minimum of one year before coming forward.   

Part 1 and 2 2018 Exam Dates - Booking is now closed - the next Part 1 and 2 dates will be released later in the year for Janaury 2019. 

Monday 11 June - Solihull Riding Club, Solihull, North West Region - all day
Tuesday 12 June - Merrist Wood College, Surrey, Southern Region - 3pm onwards
Tuesday 12 June - Myerscough College, Preston, North West Region – all day
Tuesday 12 June - Mount Ballan, Caldicot, Wales Region – all day
Wednesday 13 June - Red Lion Hotel, Todwick, Sheffield, Northern Region - afternoon/evening
Thursday 14 June – Alnwick Ford, Morpeth, Northern Region - afternoon/evening
Thursday 14 June – Badgeworth Arena, Axbridge, South West Region – all day
Friday 15 June – Crofton Manor, Fareham, Central Region - all day
Saturday 16 June - College of West Anglia, Cambridge, Eastern Region – afternoon. 
Saturday 16 June – Holiday Inn Express, Perth, Scotland Region– all day

Reasonable adjustment
If you believe you may require a reasonable adjustment for your exam, you need to notify British Dressage at the time of your booking. Please the training and education department on c with the reasonable adjustment form completed and supporting documentation in the form of a signed letter from either your doctor or a formal letter from the relevant disability/support group. Please click here for the reasonable adjustment form. 

Part 3 2018 Exam Dates

  • Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th August - Writtle College, Chelmesford
  • Monday 10 September and Tuesday 11 September – Mount Ballan, Caldicot
  • Tuesday 25 September and Wednesday 26 September – Swallowfield Equestrian, Solihull
  • Tuesday 2 October and Wednesday 3 October – Alnwick Ford, Morpeth 

Booking for Part 3 will open at 09.00 on 29 June 2018 and can be done by visiting the online booking pageExams are sold out. Please book onto the waiting list for your preferred venue and we will be in touch if spaces become available. Please note that Part 3 exams will cost £40 for this autumn session. 

If you are unable to use the online booking system, please contact the Training and Education Department.  

FEI Judge Exam

The next Part 1 and 2 exams will be available in January 2019. Part 3 exam dates and venues for 2019 are TBC.

If you do not have the Riding or coaching scores, in addition to the Part 1 and 2 exam you will need to complete 2 Shadow Judging engagements at different shows, and an Oral Evaluation before coming forward for your Part 3 exam. 

Evaluations and assessments

In order to find a Judge who is authorised to do an oral evaluation / assessment, shadow Judge or who is willing to review a set of practice judging sheets please click here.

  Please note fees are applicable for these services.  These fees are detailed in the new judge testing accreditation document and are also listed at the bottom of the Tutor Judge list.

How to become a Music Judge

 In our recent newsletter, we confirmed that you'd be able to complete a test paper in order to become a music judge. The Judges’ Committee has taken the decision to make the process of becoming a music judge more accessible and flexible to all judges and the following guidance is intended to further clarify the requirements.

Existing music judges
If you've attended a Music Seminar before 1st December 2017 you can continue to judge music classes and will not be required to sit a paper to continue to do this. Neither will you need to sit a paper every time you upgrade to a higher list.

Potential new music judges
If you've recently become a listed judge or you have not yet attended a Music Seminar but you now wish to judge music classes, you'll be able to take a test paper at a time and place to suit you. This is as an alternative to attending a Music Seminar and not in addition to.  Once you've completed the paper, you just need to return it to the BD office for it to be marked.

How to access the music test paper
You can book online to order the Music Judge Test Paper through

There will be three papers which will be appropriate for the following levels; Novice/Elementary, Medium/Advanced Medium and FEI Level. These test papers will be available from 1 December 2017 at a cost of £20 and can be booked at any time as there will be no closing date. If you do not achieve the required 70% to pass the paper, you can re-sit it for an additional fee of £5, which can also be booked through the following link  

Learn from the world's top judges
The International Equestrian Federation's publication FEI DRESSAGE HANDBOOK Guidelines for Judging, has been written by some of the most experienced FEI dressage judges. It will help with understanding scores and the criteria outlined in the FEI Dressage Rulebook. It is available 
here from the British Dressage shop.